Today at 6pm Venezuela shuts down till the results of the presidential elections. This means that there will be no opened businesses, except a few stores in some very big & famous malls. Transportation of merchandise will be banned from Venezuelan highways from today till Monday. Selling of alcohol is banned, but that doesn´t keep people from drinking to be able to accept the news.
There are two main fronts supporting two main candidates. The first front is the great patriotic pole supporting Hugo Chavez Frias for this 3rd presidential period. The second front is the democratic unity round table (MUD) supporting Capriles Radonski. The choice was made to support Radonski earlier in February this year in separate elections that were organized by the MUD to make sure that all the votes will unite behind one opposition leader.
On the scene you might find other candidates such as Maria Bolivar, Orlando Chirinos, Reina Sequera, & Luis Reyes. Many Venezuelans think that these people were paid to go for presidency as a maneuver from Chavez to push some votes away from Radonski. However after realising that Chirinos might be a threat to his own voters apparently in very mysterious circumstances he was convinced to step aside & give all his votes to Chavez.
In February the participation in the MUD elections was considered high. But I personally thought that even with this participation it would be very hard to push Chavez away. Now I changed my opinion.
The speed with which Radonski was moving, was extremely astonishing. He was giving speeches in several cities everyday. Crossing a minimum of two states in his early days of the campaign, & in the last days he was crossing three.The old fat grumpy Chavez couldn´t match the performance of his rival. His swiftness made states & big cities compete in the number of people coming out welcome him. For example yesterday, people of Barquisimeto state Lara wanted to compete in numbers with Maracaibo state Zulia.
Chavez is known to offer money to people to participate in his parades. In addition to the government employees that might be risking their job if they don´t go to support him. We only saw big numbers in Chavez campaign in his home state Barinas, states Portuguesa, Falcon, & Cogedes.
I don´t know about other people, but for me it is completely clear that Radonski has all the votes that can make him win. The question is will Chavez surrender? The other question is, what might happen in cases of obvious fraud? In the past days people would get random previously recorded messages from Chavez asking people to vote for him & to be careful because there will be an electoral fraud. Does this mean that the CNE (National Elections Council) that was known to be a Chavez supporter is not allied to him anymore? So many questions are being asked & the answer is on Sunday. What we know is, it will be very hard for oppositions to accept defeat if Randonski looses with an electoral fraud.
The Venezuelan tradition is to drink to death the day of the elections hoping that the effect of alcohol would help their tolerance to the loss. Lets see how tolerant can the opposition be.